Sunday, February 19, 2012

Haunted Travels: Marietta, OH & Parkersburg, WV

The first haunted travels weekend getaway of 2012 was Marietta, Ohio and Parkersburg, West Virginia. While I have been to both locations before, I have never really taken the time to do much exploration and photography in either city. This time we booked a night in the historic (and haunted) Blennerhassett Hotel in Parkersburg. Our original intentions were to stay at the historic (and yes, of course it’s haunted too!), Lafayette Hotel in Marietta. Unfortunately, the Lafayette was completely booked, so thus we ended up in at the Blennerhassett. The Blennerhassett was built back in 1889 by William Chancellor and from old photos I have seen of the hotel, the exterior has not changed much since those days.

According to Theresa’s Haunted History of the Tri-State, a number of spirits are said to haunt this old hotel. William Chancellor himself has been reported to still roam the halls of the building. Theresa’s website also reports that a man in grey haunts the second floor, and the elevator tends to stop randomly on the second floor as well. And it just so happens that our room was, well, on the second floor! But despite the fact that our odds were fairly good to encounter a lingering spirit, we had no such luck during our stay. Here is more information about the Haunted Blennerhassett Hotel.

While out exploring in Parkersburg we sort of happened upon another haunted house, but I didn’t realize it at the time. We drove through the Julia-Ann Square Historic District and one particular house really caught my attention. A very large and clearly empty Queen Anne mansion with a for-sale sign out front seemed to be talking to us. My husband circled the block, and the next thing I know he is driving up into the yard/driveway! Now, had it not been for sale we would have not been so bold but we got of the car and took a walk around the property and I of course snapped lots of photos.

Later that evening back at the Blennerhassett, I was browsing through a photo history book that was in the room and I came across a little write-up on Peter G. Van Winkle, and then it hit me….I knew I had heard of this house, and had seen a photo too a few years back. The empty/for-sale Queen Anne was the Van Winkle-Wix house, which is reported to be haunted. I have not found many details on the haunted happenings but the reports of ghostly footsteps seem to be a fairly common occurrence there.

Even though we did not get to spend the night at the Lafayette in Marietta, we did go and take a stroll through downtown earlier in the day before heading to Parkersburg for the night. While there we paid a visit to the historic and Haunted Anchorage Putnam Villa, built in 1859 and it was also part of the Underground Railroad. According to Theresa’s listing on the hauntings of this old home, one of the spirits that is believed to haunt the house is Eliza Putnam, the wife of the original owner Douglas Putnam. It is indeed an incredibly beautiful home, and I can only imagine how magnificent it was in its heyday.

Sometime in the future we will return to Marietta, perhaps we will try for an investigation at the Anchorage, and/or spend a night at the Haunted Lafayette!

HPIR Founder